Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Heat Wave in Europe

Some wonder how in the world Paris can be 45°C (or 113°F), but there's a simple explanation.

I ran into an old Bedouin a day or two ago, and he told me how he'd been riding his camel through the desert when he saw something sticking up out of the sand. He wondered what it was, so he had his camel lie down and got off and went to find a bottle covered with writing in a language he could not read (he took a picture on his cellphone, but I couldn't read it, either, and I've never seen writing like that before, and neither had the old man).

He said he began rubbing the sand off the bottle, and somehow broke the seal, and a huge marid (a very powerful kind of jinn) came out.

'What year is this?' asked the marid, I was put in that bottle by King Shlomoh.'

'King Shlomoh?' asked the Bedouin.

'Oh,' said the marid, 'you're Arab, I think you call him King Suleiman. Unless you're a Christian Arab, in which case you'd call him King Solomon.'

'King Suleiman died more than 3,000 years ago,' said the Bedouin.

'For freeing me, I will give you one wish. Ask, and it shall be granted.'

'Well,' said the old man, 'I've heard that the weather in Europe is much nicer than it is here. I wish the weather here was like Europe.'

'That is impossible,' said the marid, 'Europe is 20 degrees of latitude north of here. It cannot be done. Ask me anything else.'

'OK,' said the old man, 'I want to understand women.'

'Your wish is granted,' said the marid, who then disappeared, never to be seen again.

And now Europe is just as hot as the Sahara.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Trump and Iran

Trump had (in his own mind, and that of all the Trumpeters) a great success with the DPRK. Trump tweeted that, if the DPRK did not surrender, he'd nuke them. Moon worked with Kim, and managed to set up a meeting of Trump and Kim. Trump announced he had solved the DPRK problem once and for all. And the Trumpeters all accept that Trump is telling the truth.

Actually, after the talk, Kim released some prisoners and returned the remains of some US soldiers killed in the Korean military action (under the US Constitution, it's not a war unless the Congress calls it a war, and they haven't done that since WWII). Kim stopped all his military tests of nukes and missiles.

So what did the US establishment press say? That Trump gave Kim the farm, and got absolutely nothing in return. And all the #NeverTrumps 'know' that, since the establishment press said it, it must be true. Trump may be a big liar, but the establishment press is an even bigger liar.

Trump got more out of Kim than any of his predecessors, and gave them absolutely nothing. The US continues its military games practising for a military regime change in the DPRK (though there was a brief delay, with some scheduled games delayed for a very short time). Trump continued all the sanctions. And the establishment press lied, 'The DPRK still has nukes. Trump's predecessors made great progress, but Trump is a complete failure.' Trump didn't care, since the Trumpeters believe him, not the establishment press. (Of course, after a year of no sanctions relief, Kim tested one missile, but no new nuclear bomb tests. For now. Still much more than any of Trump's predecessors accomplished, but the establishment press still says Trump got absolutely nothing from the DPRK.)

So he tried for a repeat with Iran.

In 1945, the US joined the UN, and signed the treaty to abide by all Security Council resolutions (didn't seem like a big deal, since the US has a veto over all Security Council resolutions it does not like). Under Obama, the Security Council passed the JCPOA, that US sanctions on Iran would be lifted if Iran stopped trying to build a nuclear weapon and allowed UN inspections.

There's a bit of history that Iran ignored. Clinton got Saddam and Kim's father to agree to get rid of all their WMD with UN inspections, promising sanctions relief. No sanctions relief at all, but Bush, Jr knew he could force regime change in Iraq and the DPRK, which was what Clinton had in mind. Bush, Jr stated in his 2003 State of the Union address that the 9/11 attacks were ordered, funded by, and planned and organised by Iran, and carried out by their co-religionists, Saddam and his Republican Guard, the Taliban led by Mullah Omar, and the DPRK led by Kim's father, and the US had already forced regime change in Afghanistan, and would also force regime change in Iran, Iraq, and the DPRK. So Kim's father, the big liar, set off a nuke, and Bush, Jr ordered the US military to force regime change in Iraq and hand Saddam over to a lynch mob. Great work on Bush, Jr's part, if one reads the US establishment media, which ranks that State of the Union address as one of the very best State of the Union addresses of all times, and they all say Bush, Jr transformed Iraq from an impoverished, brutal dictatorship and state sponsor of terror into a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous paradise. But regime change in the DPRK had to be put on hold.

Then Bush, Jr made the same deal with Muammar of Libya and Kim's father (again) and both agreed. Same result. No sanctions lifted, regime change in Libya by Obama, and Kim's father and then Kim set off more nukes, so regime change in the DPRK had to be put on hold. Again.

So Obama made the same deal with Iran (he'd given up on the DPRK), no US sanctions lifted (the US let China, India, and the EU trade with Iran, but only in cash, since the US sanctions on SWIFT were still in place, so no interbank transfers allowed). Obama's idea was that President Clinton would force regime change, once she was assured by the UN inspectors that Iran was in full compliance and had no WMD. She would have said the JCPOA was a great deal, but Iran was in violation, as revealed by US intelligence, who know much more than the UN inspectors, and the US media would have said she had no choice but to force regime change and cheered her on.

The US media hated Trump, and condemned him for saying the JCPOA was a bad deal and he was reneging.

Trump's idea was, of course, exactly the same as the DPRK: Trump would tweet that he was ready to nuke Iran, Iran would agree to a meeting, and Trump would proclaim a complete and total victory, disirregardless of whatever really happened, and all the Trumpeters would believe him, and agree he'd kept yet another of his promises, and ask themselves (yet again) why do all the #NeverTrumps hate Trump and ignore his great accomplishments?

Only Iran looked at what happened to Saddam, and Muammar, and Kim, and saw that there would be no sanctions relief, just Trump proclaiming to the Trumpeters that his meeting with Iran was a total success, and the US could move on. So Iran says they will never meet with Trump until they get some sanctions relief, and they'll shoot down anything that enters their air space or territorial waters. Trump says, if they do, he will obliterate Iran.

There is, of course, one teeny, tiny problem with obliterating Iran. In 1988, Reagan ordered the US military to sink the entire Iranian fleet and shoot down an Iranian plane. The idea was that the US Navy would shoot down some Iranian military plane, but a passenger jet was handy, so they shot it down (and gave medals to the sailors who shot it down for great shooting). Iran could do absolutely nothing. But they vowed to build up their military so, if the US ever tried that again, they could shoot back.

The US military are, of course, incredibly powerful, destructive idiots. Every day in Vietnam, they said they'd managed to kill at least 10% of the entire North Vietnamese Army. They bombed cities and villages, and killed lots of civilians, but the military were hidden. After killing 10% of the entire North Vietnamese military every day for 10 years (and seeing dozens of US soldiers killed by the entirely destroyed North Vietnamese military every day), the US pulled out.

And now they say, in 30 minutes or less, the will destroy the entire Iranian defences. Only, like the North Vietnamese and North Korean and Chinese militaries, those defences are mostly well hidden. So, after 100% have been destroyed, several thousand missiles will hit the US fleet, the US military bases in the region, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

After that, the US military will bomb all the Iranian cities (losing a lot of planes, but they have plenty) so Iran will be destroyed, but the cost to the US will be quite a few trillion dollars, a lot of ships, planes, and military bases.

Iran, like the DPRK, won't start a war, since they know that any war with the US will destroy Iran, but they say, if the US starts to destroy Iran, they will shoot back, and the cost will be far more than the US can afford.

But the US military keep saying they can destroy Iran without losing a single American or any American assets. And they believe it. Even if Iran got extremely lucky and somehow managed to shoot down a $130,000,000 stealth-protected drone, surely, they can't possibly do it again.

So it looks like Trump plans war with Iran. Maybe.
Tucker Carlson, the best commentator in the US media, said Trump won with a coalition that includes some anti-war types who liked his promise of no new wars, and he'd lose all those voters if he starts a war with Iran (he'd still have the racists, of course).

Since Trump won in 2016 by a paper-thin margin, he can't afford to lose any of his base, so starting a new war is certain to guarantee his defeat in 2020.

So we have a slender hope that Trump will listen to Tucker Carlson and tweet lots of nukes at Iran, but no actual bullets or bombs. The Democrat running against Trump will promise war with Russia to punish them for stealing the 2016 election (as Secretary Clinton promised to do for their trying to steal the election). Every Democrat is sure Russia stole the election since Obama and Mueller said they had irrefutable proof (classified, so no patriotic American would ever ask to see it). So if Trump avoids war and can run on an anti-war platform, he might pull a repeat in 2020, something that will be impossible if he listens to Bolton and Pompeo.

It's not much hope, but it's all we have.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Rumours of War

Modi is running to get re-elected as Prime Minister of India. Some think he wants a war with Pakistan to help his chances of winning. So far, he rattled a few sabres, but MAD has (so far) managed to avert a war between India and Pakistan, just as it managed to avert war between the US and the USSR from the end of WWII until the USSR ceased to exist. Headlines in the newspapers a month or two ago were, 'Nuclear War near. You'll never guess where.' (Assuming their readers would all think of US/DPRK or US/USSR or US/PRC, not India and Pakistan.)

Trump is running to get re-elected as President of the US. It is a long-standing tradition that US Presidents always start a war in Year 3 of their presidency to help with re-election. Reagan picked Grenada. Bush, Sr. picked Iraq (he'd already had a war with Panamá, but then the cartoonists showed Uncle Sam in his trophy room with his elephant gun and two mouse heads mounted on his wall, so he needed a nation where victory would look more impressive than that). Bush, Sr. declared victory after 100 hours, and lost re-election. Clinton picked Yugoslavia, and won re-election (of course, the war was still going on, plus continuing Bush, Sr's war in Iraq, which goes on to this day). Bush, Jr picked Iraq. Obama picked Libya.

So what nation will Trump pick? The USSRRussia is back, making life much more difficult than it was for presidents Bush, Sr. through Obama. The US MSM all say MAD no longer exists, the US has become so much more advanced than any other nation, there is now only AD of America's enemies. Of course, that's what MacArthur told Truman, and Truman fired him. MAD seems to have convinced every US (and Soviet) leader that war with another MAD power would be inadvisable in the extreme.

And Russia has said, 'No regime change in Venezuela.' And the PRC might say, 'No regime change in the DPRK or Iran.' So whom the heck can Trump pick for a war? Not clear.

On 2 May, the US has ordered that no one can buy one drop of oil from Iran, and the US has proved it can and will demand the arrest of anyone who buys any Iranian oil and goes to any EU country or the UK or any country in the Americas (except Venezuela and Cuba) or the Antipodes, all of whom have agreed to extradite to the US anyone the US demands (except maybe one of their own citizens). So any persons from China or India who buy any Iranian oil had better watch where they travel.

Of course, after Canada arrested an officer of Huawei for selling a phone to an Iranian and promised speedy extradition to the US for life imprisonment, the PRC said they planned to execute 3 Canadians. So Canada sent the officer home to House Arrest in her $20 million mansion, and the US and the PRC seem able to live with that (China has not yet executed the Canadians). The extradition hearing seems indefinitely postponed.

The world leaders are tiptoeing through the mire of managing to avoid MAD, and most of us hope this will continue, in spite of all the pressures from the US MSM to start a war with the DPRK and/or Russia.

The Concerned Scientists say the Doomsday Clock is now just 2 minutes to midnight.

Pollyannas, those concerned scientists.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Next steps for neo-Imperialism?

Trump ran on a 3-legged platform: peace with Syria and Russia, and regime change in Iran. Flynn went to Moscow and did a programme for the Russian propaganda channel where they asked him what Trump would do, and he said the most important thing would be regime change in Iran. Then he got indicted for accepting money from a foreign state (they paid him to be on Russian TV) and had to resign from his position in the Trump administration, but the promise of regime change in Iran still stands (while the promises of peace with Syria and Russia are looking very shaky). Trump's administration is hoping for complete sanctions against Iran: anyone who buys from or sells to Iran will be prohibited from doing any business with the US, and if the US$ is used, heavy fines and arrests of the guilty parties (like the lady arrested in Canada at the request of the US Department of Justice who is looking at life in prison for selling phones to Iran).

To Iran has been added Venezuela. Guaidó declared that a) he was the sole Venezuelan Head of State; and b) he was handing all Venezuelan assets (including those owned by Russia and the PRC) to whomever would recognise that he is the sole Venezuelan Head of State. The US continues to buy most of the oil produced by Venezuela, but no longer pays for it (all the money must go, of course, to Guaidó, but Maduro, the elected president, won't allow that). So Venezuela is short of food and medicine. The US sent a small amount of food and medicine, saying it can only be delivered to Guaidó, but the government won't allow any of it to go to Guaidó, so it's sitting in Columbia. Maduro figures the US will soon send the military to force regime change, but the US prefers to a) start a crisis by withholding/blockading all payments due to the country so there's a shortage of everything; then b) heavily funding the opposition until they engineer the coup, with help and support from the US, but it's locals raping and killing the young girls, not Americans, so, as Elliott Abrams told Ms Ilhan, don't blame the US, they did great favours for all those Latin American countries the US transformed from impoverished, brutal dictatorships into peaceful and prosperous democracies, and Ms Ilhan had absolutely no right, just because she somehow got elected to the Congress, to question his great results spreading peace, freedom, democracy, and prosperity. (Many members of the Congress figure she should be drummed out of the Congress and replaced by someone who will give Mr Abrams the respect he so richly deserves.)

For reasons that escape Mr Abrams & the rest of the Trump administration, the Venezuelan opposition is having a little trouble, since 60% of Venezuelans, including almost all of the army, support President Maduro.

So now the question is, what next? Iran or Venezuela? Because of the JCPOA by St Obama, the US establishment is against sending troops to Iran; however, they're fully behind sending troops to Venezuela.

Of course, one question is, 'What about Xi-who-must-be-obeyed?' There was also a Russian plane that landed in Venezuela and then returned to Russia, and it's said the plane left behind a squad of Russian advisors to the Venezuelan army, but this is just a rumour. So an US/UK/EU attempt to force regime change in Venezuela might involve more than the usual US regime change in Latin America.

And a unilateral US regime change in Iran might also go rather differently than Iraq or Libya.

And, of course, the US Intelligence services and the US military want regime change in Syria, Russia, the PRC, and the DPRK, and consider all four more important and more urgent than Iran or Venezuela.

Every president since Reagan has started a war in Year 3 of his presidency. And this is Trump's Year 3. So where do we go now?????

Friday, February 8, 2019

State of the Union?

Trump gave his State of the Union address a week late. Speaker Pelosi banned his giving it while the shutdown was on, so Trump and the Senate agreed to fund the government for 3 weeks and Pelosi let Trump give the State of the Union. He got standing ovation after standing ovation, even from the #NeverTrump, #MeToo Congresswomen in White. The mainstream media said the State of the Union was weak, insipid, rambling, and incoherent, and no one could possibly stand to watch it.
The State of the Union had a 76% approval rating, but that number must be taken with several grains, or probably cups, of salt. Before, everyone watched the State of the Union, but now, only Democrats watch Democrat presidents and only Republicans watch Republican presidents, so that 76% isn't really that impressive. The polls ask, 'Did you see the State of the Union,' and when one answers, 'Heck no,' one's opinion isn't sought, or accepted if given without being asked. The mainstream media 'knew' Trump's State of the Union would be weak, insipid, rambling, and incoherent, and no one could possibly stand to watch it, so they felt absolutely no need to waste their time actually watching it.

Trump wants to pull out of Syria and Afghanistan, but when he threatened, several members of his cabinet resigned, and were replaced by neocon hawks who say the US needs to send far more troops, and not just to Syria and Afghanistan, but all over until the US neo-Empire covers the entire planet. So no one has a clew what's really going on.

Trump is also promising military action to force regime change in Venezuela. Every US/UK/EU propaganda channel says the corrupt Maduro regime gets billions a month in oil money, hides it all, and leaves ordinary Venezuelans without any food or medicine. The Russian and Chinese propaganda channels say the problems in Venezuela are all caused by the US/UK/EU sanctions. Some of us figure it's probably both.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Trump plans regime change in Iran

Trump has been saying he intends to force regime change in Iran since 2015. Flynn was invited to Russia to tell them more about Trump, whom they hadn't heard much about, and he explained that Trump's main goal as president would be regime change in Iran.

This actually goes back to Bush, Jr's 2003 State of the Union address, rated as among the 5 best State of the Union addresses, ever, by the Washington Post. Back in September, 2001, some thought Saudi might have had something to do with the 9/11 attack. Bush, Jr. knew better. He gave orders on 11 Sept 2001 that absolutely no one could fly except Saudis, since he knew the Saudis practice a peaceful, non-violent version of Islam. Top US experts tell us it's the Shi'a version of Islam, which prohibits all violence.

No, Bush, Jr explained in 2003, it was Iran that ordered the 9/11 attacks, trained and paid the thousands of hijackers who were their coreligionists in Afghanistan, Iraq, the DPRK, Libya, Syria, and Cuba (the last three weren't in the State of the Union address, Bush, Jr added them later). We know the hijackers must have spent time in Iran because, when US immigration checked their passports, there were no Iranian visas (proving they'd been to Iran, but secretly, since the Iranians are so clever). Con Coughlin, the always reliable UK journalist, noted that Iran gave some of the hijackers badly faked Saudi passports, but none of the hijackers were Saudis, and I know we can all trust Con Coughlin, just as we can trust the US experts, who teach us that Iran and its coreligionists follow the Sufi sect of Islam, a sect dedicated to violence and jihad.

We know that Mullah Omar in Afghanistan must be a follower of the Ayatollahs, since Omar is one of the most popular names in Iran, and is the surname of many of the Ayatollahs, including Omar Khomeini and Omar Khamenei, just as we know Saddam was another of their loyal and devout jihadi followers, and so was Kim's father and also Castro and most Cubans, and so is Kim and the rest of the DPRK.

So anyone can see Trump's war to force regime change in Iran will be more than justified, and we hope his war transforms Iran from an impoverished, brutal dictatorship and state sponsor of terror into a democratic, peaceful and prosperous paradise (as Thomas Friedman has frequently praised Bush, Jr and Obama for accomplishing in Iraq and Libya).

Every president since Reagan has started a war to liberate some oppressed country early in his 3rd year (to help with re-election), and Trump is now in his 3rd year, so it's about time, and I expect the regime change in Iran to start in the next couple of months (shutdowns don't affect the US military).

Thursday, January 10, 2019

US Government Shutdown

Most governments don't just shut down. But the US does. Usually, just for a day or two. But Trump is different. Trump gave a speech that more people are killed by illegal immigrants every year than died in the Vietnam War, and the only answer is more border security and a $5.6 billion wallbarrier. The House Speaker says any wall under Trump is immoral (unlike his predecessors, when 600 miles of wall was a moral imperative), so not 1¢ for a wall. So far, the Congress hasn't passed a budget with funding for the unfunded agencies, so Trump has nothing to sign or veto. Having said the lack of a wall kills more than the Vietnam War, Trump would have a hard time backing down. Having said the wall is immoral, I can't see the Democrats backing down. So 800,000 government employees won't be getting paid (and it's illegal for them to take other jobs). Most are low-level, low paid, living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, so to pay the rent and keep food on the table, they have to take out very high-interest loans. In the past, once the shutdown was over, the furloughed Federal workers were all paid their full wages, but the interest will still take a hefty chunk when they finally get paid. People with pre-paid trips to visit Federal parks or museums have a hotel room next to a park or museum that's closed. And people who desperately need Federal forms won't get them.

But the wars will go on. Trump said he was immediately withdrawing from Syria, but most people didn't understand: 'immediately' in English means, 'later, maybe never.' Or so say Bolton and Pompeo.

So the shutdown inconveniences a lot of people, but none of the usual evils will be delayed or reduced in the slightest.